When a company employs others, it’s likely that conflict resolution in the workplace will need to occur. Sometimes, the conflict can be handled by the employees who are at odds, other times another employee or manager will have to step in. Either way, resolving conflict in a timely and efficient manner is essential to the continued success of the company and positivity of the overall company culture.
When conflict resolution in the workplace is required, there are a few action steps that need to be taken to eliminate the differences and return focus to the matter at hand, company success.
Conflict is bound to happen, so getting used to that idea and being willing to face it head-on is an invaluable skill. When issues are swept under the rug, they never truly disappear. The knowledge of the dirty floor still lingers despite it being hidden.
When conflict appears, take the time to acknowledge that an issue is present and that a resolution must occur. This is not the time to choose sides prematurely or make assumptions about what may or may not have happened. Instead, be open to the idea that there is an issue and be understanding that your employees are likely upset about the matter at hand.
Many disputes can be resolved without the involvement of management. Once you acknowledge an issue, encourage employees to sit down and attempt to solve the problem themselves. When you give them the opportunity to resolve their problem instead of immediately stepping in, you set the precedent that resolving issues independently should be the first step.
Provide them with a timeframe to attempt to solve their problem and check back in with them. If it has been resolved, great. You can check back in overtime to make sure the issue hasn’t resurfaced. If not, continue with the conflict resolution process.
It’s important to exercise good judgment when deciding whether your employees can resolve the conflict themselves. If the issue is ongoing, involves extreme disrespect, discrimination, harassment, etc., you wouldn’t expect them to handle it independently, and you should forego this step.
When a person is upset, they want to vent their frustrations and feel heard. Giving your employees the opportunity to do so allows them to release their feelings which will make the conflict resolution process more productive.
Facilitate this process properly. If both employees are in the room, ensure they’re not interrupting each other or displaying disrespectful body language. Sometimes it’s best to hear both sides separately, then bring them together. You must do what’s best for the specific situation based on personalities, the nature of the conflict, and your company culture.
Sometimes conflict resolution in the workplace will be simple because the issue will directly violate company policy or the policy will have a detailed process regarding what’s to happen in the specific situation.
If there are guidelines, you want to follow them, if not, you must move forward in deciding on a solution that works best for the employees and company.
Now it’s time to determine what specific steps need to take place to resolve this conflict. It’s important to remember at this time that a full agreement doesn’t need to occur because sometimes employees will have to agree to disagree. Instead, discuss what each employee would like to see happen and determine how they can find a middle ground. Any commonalities that can be agreed upon during this time is a significant step.
The solution stage should be tailored to your company culture, the issues at hand, and your employees, but there are a few parts of the process that should be included. These were provided by the Human Resources Department at the University of California Berkeley.
Brainstorm various ways in which this problem can be resolved. Allow each member involved to provide input, so their voice continues to be heard.
Once a list of possible solutions is developed, determine the best course of action moving forward. Consider the pros and cons, both logistically and emotionally for each option.
This step is critical. You want everyone to agree to the solution verbally as his or her acknowledgment that he or she will do their part in ending the conflict. If an employee refuses to agree, the odds are likely that the issue will repeat itself, and get worse as time goes on. If this is the case you might consider bringing in a conflict mediator, or if insubordination is at play, a consequence might be needed.
Completing the conflict resolution process is not a guarantee that the issue at hand will be resolved. It’s best to check back in with those involved from time to time to determine whether the problem is continuing or if it is no longer prevalent.
If the issue is still not resolved, again, it might be time to bring in a mediator, or if there is a case of insubordination, consequences might need to be given to certain people involved.
Having conflict in the workplace is never a fun thing to deal with, but sometimes resolving conflict can lead to better communication and ultimately a stronger bond between employees. Never sweep issues under the rug. Bring them to the forefront and understand that it is your responsibility to maintain a positive and healthy environment of engaged employees and that’s difficult to do when there is no conflict resolution in the workplace.
If you want to learn more about maintaining engaged employees, you can download my free e-book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement. In this book, I break down best practices to get your employees engaged in your company’s success.
Finding a highly skilled, hardworking and consistent employee to join your team can be a difficult task. Some companies find it just as challenging to decrease turnover rates of their best employees.
The reason an employee chooses to resign can vary widely. Some get married and move to another state. Others decide to start their own business. They might have a baby and decide to stay home or even win the lottery. Those are all based on circumstances that have more to do with their personal lives and less to do with the decisions made by their managers.
The other reasons good employees quit their jobs are often directly related to their employer. Poor management, lack of advancement opportunities, and the inability to maintain a work/life balance are some of the reasons given by good employees who choose to quit their jobs.
When you are dedicated to keeping the employees you manage satisfied and employed with your company, you must first develop a firm understanding of the top reasons why good employees leave their jobs.
Wendy Durante Duckrey, Vice President of recruiting at JPMorgan, is famously quoted as saying, “most people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their boss.”
It is also one of the top reasons good employees give for leaving a job.
When an employee feels supported, encouraged, and motivated by their superior, they will work harder for them, and remain more dedicated to their position.
If they feel their needs are not being met and their concerns are not being addressed, they are less likely to remain with the company, not due to the job itself, but due to management issues.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a lack of proper training for many who enter into managerial positions. It involves more than paperwork and tracking metrics. Managers must have strong people skills and the ability to develop relationships with those who work under them.
Otherwise, employers who struggle to manage their employees will continue to face the harsh reality that goes along with high turnover rates.
There’s nothing worse than going to work every day, doing your job to the best of your ability, being expected to go above and beyond your required tasks, and feeling underappreciated and undervalued by those at your job.
It is one of the fastest ways to decrease employee engagement and to lose a good employee.
You can make your employees feel valued in many ways including:
The ways in which you can make your employees feel valued are endless and can fit any budget your company has.
While all employees should be made to feel appreciated, it’s especially important to do this for employees who are continually working hard and taking on additional responsibilities beyond what they’ve been hired to do.
Most employees want to feel challenged in their career. Being in a job with no advancement opportunities, be it their position or a significant salary change, will often lead to the search for new employment, especially when they recognize their value as an employee.
It’s important to give employees an opportunity to stay with your company as they improve their skills and advance in their career.
You can do this by making new job opportunities known to employees within the company, so they have first dibs before bringing in outsiders.
Also, check in with your employees at minimum once per year to discuss their career goals. This will allow you to gain an understanding of how your employees are feeling regarding their current position and hopes for the future.
Also, offering educational opportunities and tuition reimbursement opportunities can provide your employee with a reason to remain with your company while gaining skills that can lead to advancement in the future.
Today more than ever, the desire to have a career that still allows for flexibility, time with family and friends, and a healthy personal life is at the top of many employees’ list.
When employees are overworked, it reduces their ability to maintain a healthy a work/life balance.
It’s often found that good employees who show their ability to handle their job and take on additional responsibilities find the weight of their department placed on their shoulders. While it might be seen as a way to show your trust in the employee, it is actually a form of punishment. It shows that when an employee performs well, they are rewarded with additional work and no salary increase.
When you want to give an employee additional responsibilities, it should be a non-negotiable that a salary increase or position advancement comes along with those added responsibilities.
If your goal is to keep your good employees working with your company, it’s crucial that you stay abreast of their needs and wants career wise. In most situations, a highly skilled employee will be able to find another position, so you must consider what you need to do to keep them with your company.
Understand that you are working with people. People who have families. People who have personal lives. People with dreams, wishes, and goals. People with feelings.
When you keep that at the forefront of your mind, you will treat your employees like real people and your good employees will recognize your humanism and be more likely to stay around.
When you treat them like they’re disposable, they will dispose of their position and find another.
As you work to ensure your employees remain within your company, it’s also vital that you keep employee engagement high. It is one of the key factors to maintaining low turnover rates within a company.
If you’re searching for a resource that will help you maintain a workforce that is highly engaged, download a free copy of my book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement which features best practices for getting your employees involved in your company’s success.